April 6, 2008 - Here's the fingerboard being glued to the neck.
I tried to make a tone ring from copper tubing but it just didn't work out. It would have WORKED, I just thought it looked like crap. All that was missing was the duct tape. Luckily I had some 9/32" cold rolled steel laying around. Just hope nobody locks themselves out of their car, as that was my (cough) "master key".
To rout the rim for the tone ring I rigged up a couple small pieces of wood onto the bottom of my router and passed the rim over it, many many times, until I got the depth I wanted (preordained by the clamped pieces of wood).
And here's the routed rim:
Here's the rim with a couple coats of stain (50/50 red mahogany and medium brown concentrate dissolved in denatured alcohol) along with the tone ring (not yet cleaned up) and the semi-complete tension hoop, which I had made from 1/8" flat stock, welded and then notched with a Makita grinder, a Dremel tool, and next will be hand filed and polished.
I put the concave surface in the base of the neck with the belt sander, slow steady moves and a few prayers. I then had to relieve the upper edge for the tension hoop and head, allowing for adjustments. I made several timid passes with the router until I got the desired depth, then had to make it even deeper with the Dremel tool to allow for the extra diameter of the head's flange and also a range of adjustment. I'm sure somewhere there is someone feeding banjo necks into a routing jig that does this operation in one pass, and they're bored with their job and daydreaming about NASCAR and what color halter top Billie Joe Sue will be wearing at Bob's Big Boy tonight.... I can't imagine it after the tense moments I put in. The pucker power was intense.....
I then drilled the bottom of the neck for threaded brass inserts and stainless steel bolts. My intention is to NOT use truss rods or a dowel stick. I think it will be strong enough without them, and if I find out differently I can always add them after.